I think all my life, just until now, I thought the weekend was the same around the world. I have come to realize that it is different in several countries.
This helps sum up the reasoning behind it: In cultures with a seven-day week, the day of rest derives from the main religious tradition: Sunday (Christian), Saturday (Jewish), or Friday (Muslim).
In the US, we take Saturday and Sunday off and work Monday to Friday.
In the UAE, they take Friday and Saturday off and work Sunday to Thursday. (Hence, although today (Sunday) is a workday in Dubai, my clients are taking a day of rest.)
In Saudi Arabia, they take Thursday and Friday off and work Saturday to Wednesday. (My husband is there now working until Wednesday night.) UAE neighbors Yemen and Oman also use this schedule.
Most Persian Gulf countries follow the Friday-Saturday weekend and UAE only moved from Thursday-Friday to Friday-Saturday in 2006.
More about this at Wikipedia: Weekend and Work week
I was wondering how does a Saudi and an American get any joint work done between the time differences of 8-10 or so hours and the work week only overlapping Mon-Tues-Wed?